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Book Riot: 100 Must-Read Memoirs

100 Must-Read Memoirs

A couple of weeks ago, I had a pretty epic post go up over at Book Riot — 100 Must-Read Memoirs. It was such a fun post to put together, especially because it made me realize how much the genre has blossomed, especially in the last couple of decades. As I wrote in my introduction:

I know quite a few readers who credit reading a memoir as their gateway into other nonfiction. While I certainly love memoirs for that, it’s also a genre that stands well on it’s own. A great memoir takes a reader into a different world, bringing them along as the author faces struggles big and small. Memoirs can make you laugh, cry, think and yearn to explore new ideas.

I thought I was pretty well-read when it comes to memoirs, but as I put together this list of 100 must-read memoirs, I realized the explosion of the genre of late has left me with a lot of catching up to do.

I hope you’ll jump over to Book Riot and check it out!


notorious rgbThe most surprising fact I learned about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg – aka Notorious RBG – this weekend is that her reputation as a fiery dissenter on the Court is a product of just the last 10 to 15 years of her tenure. For most of her storied career, RBG has been someone who works to develop consensus, fighting for equality in the law through incremental steps and focused decision-making.

I’m so glad that I finally picked up my copy of Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhink during this weekend’s readathon. This breezy, informative, and well-produced biography was fun to read and piqued my interest to dig more into the issues that were part of her career as a pioneering lawyer and judge.

And of course, the book is filled with many more fun facts than that: RBG works out regularly and (at 83) can do 20 push-ups. She has a particular jeweled collar she likes to wear when reading dissents. She was the first tenured female professor at Columbia Law School. She lives on coffee and can get away with just a few hours of sleep every night. She wrote a book about civil procedure in Sweden. She’s basically a super woman.

In addition to just being boundary-breaking in her life and career, RGB worked to secure equal rights for women as co-founder of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project in the 1970s. Reading about the cases RBG helped lead filled me with feminist rage (in a good way). You guys, it’s almost ridiculous to think that within the last 50 years a woman could be fired for getting pregnant and widowers weren’t entitled to Social Security benefits because men weren’t acknowledged as caregivers for their children. Through her early career as an attorney, RBG led a focused, incremental dismantling of laws that hurt women, working towards a more egalitarian vision that saw men and women as equals. There’s a lot to admire in her strategy.

The only drawback of Notorious RBG – if you can even call it a drawback – is that it’s so brief. As I was reading, I wanted to keep learning more about the various movements, organizations and moments that RBG has been part of through her career. So of course, I started putting together a Notorious RBG Reading List:

If you enjoy feminist biographies, Tumblr, kick ass ladies or legal drama, Notorious RGB might be right up your alley — I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links through Amazon. If you make a purchase through any of those links, I will receive a small commission.


Currently | Readathon Wrap-Up

readathon pile spring 2016

I’m happy to report that I woke up this morning before my alarm, not feeling the typical Readathon hangover I usually experience. Huzzah!

After some musing this morning, I think it’s because I didn’t push myself to keep reading when I was feeling tired out after a late dinner — I switch to an audio book and crocheting, and used that to power through to around midnight. I’ll definitely have to keep that plan in mind for next year. (You can read the full recap of my day here.)

Other than Readathon recovery, I’m hoping today will be a pretty chill Sunday. I’ve got some vacation prep to do, since the boyfriend and I are leaving for Milwaukee (both)/Book Expo America (me) in less than two weeks. Eek! If I do spend some time reading, it’ll be trying to finish The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee (yes, I finally started it).

With that, here’s my final Readathon wrap-up in the form of the end of event survey.

End of Event Survey

Which hour was most daunting for you?

I gave up and went to bed around midnight, I think that’s Hour 17 or Hour 18. It wasn’t really daunting, I was just sleepy after getting up before 7 a.m.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? 

The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henríquez was a great pick — I didn’t want to put it down.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Readathon next season? What do you think worked really well in this year’s Readathon?

I loved that cheering was all on Twitter. I didn’t get as many blog comments as usual, but I had fun interacting with other participants on Twitter and Instagram a lot. I didn’t really miss the blog comments, and I know that social media commenting is a lot easier for cheerleaders.

How many books did you read? What were the names of the books you read?

Five books finished — Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, Saga, Vol. 5 by Bryan K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henríquez, Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson. I also listened to a bit of The Caped Crusade by Glen Weldon.

Which book did you enjoy most?

I actually liked all of them. The Red Parts was a really good book to start with, and The Book of Unknown Americans was the perfect page-turner late into the afternoon when I was starting to get tired.

Which did you enjoy least?

Hmmmm… this volume of Saga wasn’t my favorite of the series, but that’s not saying much because Saga is so great. I’m still excited for the sixth trade coming out this summer.

How likely are you to participate in the Readathon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’ll definitely be back :) I think the cheerleading change to Twitter only is really smart — I’m more likely to officially cheer again (I haven’t signed up in awhile) because it seemed really easy.

Happy Sunday, everyone! What are you reading today?

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links through Amazon. If you make a purchase through any of those links, I will receive a small commission.

Happy Spring 2016 Readathon!

april 2016 readathonWoo hoo! The spring 2016 edition of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is finally here! I’ve got my books and my snacks and a full, hopefully uninterrupted day ahead of me. Glorious.

I’ll be doing most of my Readathon updates on Twitter (@kimthedork) and Instagram (kimthedork). I’m also planning to update this post with other notes using Storify, which I’ve used for the last couple of Readathons. You should be able to see the embedded Storify below, but if not follow this link.

Happy Readathon, everyone!


spring 2016 readathon pile

Woo hoo! Saturday is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, one of the best book nerd days of the entire year. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time running around this week, so a full devoted entirely to books is exactly what I’m in the mood for this weekend.

Like usual, I’ll have a post up here on Saturday where I’ll collect my updates from the day, primarily my Twitter feed (@kimthedork) and Instagram (kimthedork). For the last several Readathons, I’ve been using Storify to collect all of my updates in one place, and I anticipate doing that again. But, enough with all of that — I know you really just want to see my book pile.

My Books

As you can see above, Hannah had a pretty fun time getting in the way while I was trying to grab photos of my book pile. She clearly knows how photogenic she is! Most of the books I’ve collected are from my shelves, except for a slew of comics I grabbed when I was up at the library this week.

I’m most excited about The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson, a mix of memoir and true crime that was recently re-released by Graywolf Press. I’m thinking it’ll be an engaging way to start the morning, and it’s probably on the heavier side which works when I’m still fresh and upbeat. I’ve also been meaning to get to The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henríquez for quite awhile, so that’s high on the list too.

And of course, all the comics! I’ve been saving the next volumes in Saga and Ms. Marvel for awhile, and got some good ones from the library — In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang looks like a lot of fun. I’ve obviously got way more books on the pile than I’ll ever get to reading, but I love having choices.

My Best Laid Plans

I haven’t been home much this week, so I’m behind on lots of little projects. I want to get the dishes washed and the bathroom cleaned on Friday night so that’s not distracting me. And I have to get to the grocery store to pick up snacks before Saturday as well. Oh yeah, then I’ve got a baby shower for a local friend on Friday after work and I need to get my present wrapped. So, like I said, lots of little things to get done before I can settle in distraction-free on Saturday.

Happy Readathon, see you then!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links through Amazon. If you make a purchase through any of those links, I will receive a small commission.